Functional Elements

Not all of the elements of shoin architecture function as an element for display. Some were used as a direct result of concious architectural implementation.

The Fusuma were large interior sliding screens. They were cover with heavy paper and either painted or left plain. The function of these screens were to partition the space within a room, as well as to partition to room itself.



Shoji Screens are the exterior sliding screens that usually lead to a veranda area. These screens consist of white opaque paper, fixed to an wooden lattice frame.

Tatami mats replaced the plain wood floors of the palace style architecture. The tatami are considered the most influential element that flourished through the use of shoin architecture. Forms of tatami mats existed since the Heian period (782-1184). Then they were used as a status symbol with ornate embroderies illustrating the class. It is recorded that during the middle ages mats were woven and permanently installed in rooms. Since the mats were permanent and the type of mat was consitent throughout, the class division was made by whether or not someone was seated on a mat. The difference in height of the mat-user and the non-mat-user was approximately 5 centimeters. Finally, when this form entered the Muromachi period, the tatami developed into fully cover tatami floors, a solely shoin invention. As a result of this invention there was a need to shifted levels in order to separate the classes once again.

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